When I first got into LE in 1998, the standard-issue defensive “tools” on the duty belt were an S&W Model 66 in .357 (with a dump pouch and two speedloaders!) and a PR-24. Talk about TJ Hooker…
Over time, the wheelgun/loaders got ditched for a semi-auto and extra mags, and the good-ole steel “prick 24” was left in the trunk in favor of an ASP collapsible baton, augmented by OC spray.
Soon, I became an impact tool instructor, so-called because the word “baton” can have negative connotations in court and– as any course in its use will tell you– it can be an amazing little widget that can serve as a lever, guide, or pry bar during crowd/riot control, resistive handcuffing or clock in for non-standard use such as in those occasions where a window has to be adjusted.
Sadly, in recent years many new officers have hit the streets lacking a “less lethal” alternative other than a Taser device, with both the ASP and OC spray today being seen as obsolete. While I never did like OC– for a myriad of reasons it is a bad idea– deleting the ASP in my humble opinion is a fundamental mistake.
Tasers are not absolutely effective/affective in many cases, and their stand-off ability can only be used once per pack, limited its capability to dry contact stuns after that. An ASP never runs out of juice and offers a lot more options than riding the lightning. Sure, the laser on a Taser provides a moment of pause that can help de-escalate a situation, but so does the “rap” of opening an ASP with a corresponding determined look on your face.
With all that being said, it was encouraging to see that the FBI recently has remained “old school” and has adopted a new model ASP for standard issue to agents.
The FBI chose the A40 baton model, which extends to about 16” in length, and collapses—via a pushbutton release mechanism—to under 8”, for easy, discreet carry. The standard version of the A40 features two aluminum shafts and a steel striking surface, but the special variant being fielded by the agency is constructed entirely of 4140 steel, for increased striking potential. The baton also features a spring-loaded clip that facilitates carrying in a pocket or waistband, making it ideal for plainclothes use.
In a statement, ASP said, “It is a distinct honor to continue to be trusted by the men and women of the Bureau for the equipment and training they need to perform their duties and keep themselves safe.” According to the company, the FBI is one of a growing number of major federal agencies that have adopted the Agent Baton.